Gülen denies ‘groundless’ Stratfor claims of pressure on AK Party
Fethullah Gülen (Photo: Cihan)
Well-respected Turkish intellectual and scholar Fethullah Gülen has denied recent media reports based on leaked e-mails from security analysis company Stratfor that said members of his movement were putting pressure on the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in order to control the party.
Gülen said through his lawyer, Orhan Erdemli, on Wednesday that the allegations are totally groundless. Turkey’s Taraf daily reported on the leaked e-mails on Wednesday.
A set of email correspondence between two colleagues at US-based intelligence agency Stratfor, which provides geopolitical analysis to paying subscribers, was released by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks as part of a massive leak of the company’s correspondence. In one of the e-mails, analyst Emre Doğru claims that there was a conflict between the AK Party and the Gülen movement.
The e-mail alleges the Gülen movement was behind the arrest of journalists Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener, arguing that the movement put pressure on the AK Party “to make these arrests.” “I discussed this with our Turkish friend who came to Austin recently. He says Gulenists want 150 MPs from AKP if [Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan wants less pressure. It’s basically post-election bargaining,” he had written.
“The claims put forward in the report saying Gülen was trying to take control of the AK Party and wanted 150 deputies are groundless. Those who put forth these claims should immediately reveal what kind of evidence they have on this issue. Otherwise, it will be considered slander in the eyes of the public,” Erdemli said.
The lawyer’s statement also criticized the way in which the claims were reported by Taraf. “In the report, the claims were referred to as intelligence rumors. However, gossip-like correspondence between two people was presented as fact in big font on the front page. It is impossible to reconcile this situation with the principles of journalism, and the report is clearly against the law. As we explained many times in the past, Mr. Gülen has been engaged in intellectual activities based on universal values such as the rule of law, human rights, democracy and dialogue throughout his life. These studies have no political aspect. These are all legal activities and are not against the law, either,” he said.